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Top Ten Common Questions About Special Education

December 12, 2015 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

1.  What is the special education law that can help my child with a disability?

The foundation of today’s special education law was passed in 1975 and enacted in 1977.  This was Public Law 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.  In 1990 EHA was renamed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA.  IDEA was most recently reauthorized in 2004.  The Purpose of IDEA is to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education or FAPE that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.

It’s important to note that the law only guarantees an appropriate education and not the best education.  Best is a four letter word and Parents should learn to replace it with the word appropriate when discussing their child’s special education needs Read the rest of this entry →

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How to Help Your Child with Special Needs be More Independent

January 19, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The ultimate goal of a parent is the independence of their child.  Parents try to set the stage perfectly – with love, support, encouragement, guidance and nurturance. As different developmental stages occur, opportunities emerge to foster skills that will lead to independence.  We want our kids to be ready when these chances happen.

This process holds additional complexities for parents of children with special needs. Everyone struggles with the age-old question of when to ‘let go’ at each developmental stage.  And the answer for every child and parent is different.  However, just because developmental progress occurs in a more idiosyncratic or even delayed fashion doesn’t mean that the moments for these decisions on how much to let go and transitions in parental behavior aren’t arriving at all.  They are, and with a special needs child, a parent’s approach to fostering independence needs to be even more intentional and sophisticated. Read the rest of this entry →

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Thoughts on Independence

August 29, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The overriding goal for most students with disabilities is to become independent.  Very often, IEP goals include the specification that skills should be demonstrated “independently.”  We use this word a lot in special education, but it sometimes seems as though there are different interpretations.

To me, independent means without prompts or other assistance.  It means that a skill is performed from start to finish, with no cues or guidance beyond those normally available to anyone performing this skill.  To take a simple example, if all of the children in the classroom take out their reading books upon the teacher’s instruction “Please take out your reading books,” then that is what independent looks like for my student who may have autism, ADHD, or another challenge.  It is not independent if my student takes out his reading book only after his one-to-one aide has repeated the instruction, or if he opens and reads from the book but the teacher took it from her own desk and handed it to him. Read the rest of this entry →

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What are CILs, and Why Should You Know About Them?

June 17, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Another acronym? Yes! And this one’s been around for forty years. It pre-dates the first federal special education law. CILs remain a vital, but too often untapped resource for people of all ages with disabilities.

A CIL (pronounced S-ill ), is a Center for Independent Living. Sounds like a place where people live, right? But, it’s not.

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are non-profit community-based organizations that are run by people with all sorts of disabilities. CILs are an integral part of the Disability Rights and Independent Living Movements in this country. Read the rest of this entry →

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Roadmap to Transition Planning

March 9, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Transition services are an important part of in helping students with disabilities achieve maximum success as an adult. Transition services are coordinated activities that promote movement from school to post school activities. These activities can include education, vocational training, employment, independent living, community participation and/or adult services. It is important to plan for transitioning into the adult world because each student with a disability requires a different strategy to help them be successful and independent, while living and working in the community. Read the rest of this entry →

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I Have To Get Ready For The Real World. . . But How?

January 26, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Today I agreed to present to a group of parents and teachers on how to prepare students on the Autism Spectrum for the "Real World." The obvious question is, how do you define what the "Real World" is?

So I asked my tribe for their thoughts on the matter and the responses were fascinating. Here are a few of them . . .

  • The world that you are in is the real one. Just as the world that I'm in is the real one. Just be you and everything will be fine.
  • Isn't the saying true that "you are what you make it"? What is real for you isn't an issue for some, and what isn't an issue for you is the consuming world for others. Or vice-versa....
  • You know...often when I hear people talk about living in the "real world," they are usually referring to the drudgery of life and the junk stuff you have to deal with everyday. Not a happy sentiment. I think being grounded is a good thing as well as learning how to manage life. But, we could all use a little more dreaming and the asking ourselves the "what if" scenario. Looking for ways to make things better. : ) Read the rest of this entry →
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The Road to Independence

July 12, 2010 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Independent, not a word often used to describe children with special needs. But there comes a time when they must be given the chance to show themselves that they have the ability to accomplish daily tasks on an independent basis. Read the rest of this entry →

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